News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Nov. 21, 2014: I had to make a decision.
Normally I would do my Thanksgiving episode of Obama’s America next week but next week is even more special for another reason – the 200th episode of Obama’s America – and yes that trumps even Thanksgiving.
Time for a very special episode, so it is Thanksgiving this week here!
And I am going to give Barack a break this week. Not that he deserves I, but we are going to honor Thanksgiving here in Obama’s America this week.
I have a Thanksgiving story President Obama – something for him to chew on other than the Pilgrims Thanksgiving story yet again.
Everyone is tired of it by now and here at the headquarters of NewsAmericasNow, the publisher for Obama’s America in New York City, we have a better story that deserves to be the basis for Thanksgiving.
Even before we get to it, American Thanksgiving as an official day of joy and reflection was in fact declared right in New York City by President George Washington in 1789. The popular version is that President Lincoln first established Thanksgiving Day. He did not Here is part of President Washington’s much earlier Proclamation …
“Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor– and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.
Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be …….
Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789. ( Signed by ) Go. Washington
Now at that time Washington’s Presidential Mansion was at One Cherry Street in Lower Manhattan. But a few months later the Presidential mansion was relocated to 39 Broadway in Lower Manhattan just about exactly where a great deal of the Thanksgiving story I am about to tell President Obama and my other readers took place long before in 1613 …
This is the FIRST Thanksgiving story 8 years before the Pilgrims told here in Obama’s America for the Obamas’ and everyone else just as much.
The True First Thanksgiving Story ….When we celebrate each Thanksgiving we consider the day as commemorating the good harvest of 1621 enjoyed by the Pilgrims of Plymouth (Rock), and their friendly relationship with the Native Americans in the region.
In fact a little known saga that took place near Bowling Green a few yards north ( on what is now Broadway ) precedes the Pilgrim story by eight years and could just as well be the inspiration for the Thanksgiving we celebrate today. In November, 1613, Adriaen Block, a Dutch explorer, and his crew, sailing on their ship The Tiger, entered this unnamed harbor, and moored their ship in an inlet which was at the center of the World Trade Center Plaza where the large circular globe stood until September 11, 2001.
As they stepped off their vessel they became the first Europeans to set foot on the then unnamed island of Manhattan. They explored what is now Lower Manhattan. While away from their ship it burned out of control down to the water line. Their ship and all their provisions were lost. Winter was setting in, they were alone and ‘thousands of miles’ away from the nearest Europeans. It could have, it should have been their end.
They marshaled their courage, fortified themselves to the challenge, and built themselves 4 huts near what is today the corners’ of Broadway and Exchange Place. With the support and assistance of the local Native American tribes, they survived the winter in fine form.
In the spring, with the Native Indians of Manhattos, they built an entire new ship and sails from scratch, named their new boat the Onrust (Restless), and sailed into the East River, on to Long Island Sound, and reached another smaller unexplored island which Block did in fact name after himself ( when in one of history’s truly great ironies he had it in his power to have named Manhattan Island Block Island but did not ).
After exploring and mapping his newly named Block island, they sailed back to Europe never to be heard from again. They have become an almost unknown footnote to very early American history when in fact their story in more glorious, more inspiring, more difficult to comprehend The Pilgrims of Plymouth Rock and their good fortune eight years later.
Block’s story of survival and courage against impossible odds in a hostile environment, his crew with nothing and a cruel winter facing them, with the help of Native Americans, and the crew’s indomitable spirit and endless resourcefulness in building a new ship the next spring, is a tale of Olympian proportions that deserves to finally become an integral part of our Thanksgiving tradition celebrated & remembered each year by us all at this season of sharing, thankfulness and of goodwill to all Americans.
Next week – the 200th and a very special episode of Obama’s America to celebrate with you and the Turkey in The White House!